Victimization of applicants for international protection residing in Belgium : sexual violence and help-seeking behavior

Auteurs & affiliatie

Lotte De Schrijver, Anne Nobels, Jonathan Harb, Laurent Nisen, Kristien Roelens, Tom Vander Beken, Christophe Vandeviver, Ines Keygnaert


Background: Sexual violence (SV) literature on applicants for international protection (AIPs) shows that they are at high risk of victimization. The study objectives are to provide an exploratory overview of the occurrence of SV in AIPs in Belgium and their help-seeking behavior (HSB). This overview is crucial to develop prevention strategies and care paths focusing on providing adequate care to AIP SV victims in Belgium. Methods: Quantitative data from structured interviews with AIPs (n = 62) triangulated with qualitative data from in-depth interviews with AIP SV victims (n = 11) served to explore the nature and impact of SV in AIPs in Belgium and their HSB. Results: A total of 83.9% of respondents have experienced SV. A total of 61.3% were victimized within the past year. Victimization seems more gender-balanced than in the general population. AIPs link SV to their legal status and their associated vulnerable situation. HSB upon SV was very limited in this sample. Help-seeking barriers interfering with the decision-making process to consult (in)formal resources were identified. Conclusions: AIPs in Belgium are at high risk of SV. Despite the impact of SV on AIPs’ lives, HSB upon SV is rare. The provision of age-appropriate sexual education and development of policies that will reduce help-seeking barriers is needed




Lotte De Schrijver
Ines Keygnaert
Anne Nobels

Link naar publicatie

Open link


ijerph-19-12889-v3.pdf (open)

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